In 2008 this was our first cruise and made us want to cruise again. Four years later this was our fourth cruise (3rd on the Liberty) with a change in some ports of call, omitting Ocho Rios and adding Belize and Roatan. It was our first cruise since the introduction of Fun 2.0. We booked direct with Carnival and also booked our own flights from the UK and a night at the Intercontinental direct. This worked out cheaper than using a travel agent and enabled us to add 3 nights at a hotel of our choice on South Beach after the cruise.
Embarkation took much longer than before - not sure why. We arrived at midday and our rooms were ready when we got on. We went for a buffet lunch which we took up the stairs to Fish and Chips where we easily found a seat and on returning to our room found our luggage had arrived. I heartily agree with a previous reviewer about Carnival's attitude to bringing liquour on board. A Carnival employee even called this "smuggled" - a term I objected too More
as I had not deprived the US Government of any revenue or done anything illegal, just broken Carnival rules. I think Carnival should allow one bottle of liquor and one bottle of wine per cabin per cruise. This would have enabled us to have a nice bottle of wine for a special evening and be able to have a nightcap on our balcony without calling room service or using the brands in the minibar. Carnival would still make profit for the rest of the day on deck, in the casino and other entertainment bars and on wine in the restaurant. We also had a kettle confiscated, even though we explained we had no intention of using it on the cruise, it was for use in our hotel afterwards. This made us feel like naughty children! Changes since our Fun 2.0 -
Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Cantina. Both excellent adding to the atmosphere on board and draught beer, a must for us Brits.
Pizzas - what an improvement, before they were barely edible. Also great to the the Pizzaolo working, perhaps we could get a few star turns tossing pizzas in the air!
Omelets for you station - seemed superior to the standard omellete station omellettes and meant you could eat your omelet whilst still hot.
We did not try the burgers or Cantina but think these would be good alternatives.
The Fish and Chips seems greatly underused although the idea is good, perhaps better use could be made of the space.
Punchliner Comedy Club. We didn't manage to get in on the first couple of nights because of the long lines, when we did get in the Comedian was very average and the air con inside the Victoriana Lounge was ice cold. We didn't go to the the brunch even though as Gold we could have had free drink there, as we like the open air atmosphere of buffet for breakfast or lunch.
Serenity Deck - excellent innovation but would appreciate some Easy Listening music to drown out the party or rap music drifting over from the main deck.
The DJ's. I know I'm of the older generation but was at least expecting state of the art DJ's even if the music was not to my taste but what I heard was worthy of a bad office xmas party and everyone groaned at the same songs being played on both sea days. The Dj's vocabulary seemed to consist of "Make some noise" and little else. The other DJ played hip hop and rap which I cannot comment upon.
What happened to the Caribbean band, or at least some reggae or Mexican mariachi? On our beach excursion in Roatan a talented duo got everyone dancing and having a good time despite the pouring rain!
Changes in Itinerary are covered in Port Reviews.
All in all an enjoyable cruise but we felt that although everyone was friendly and hospitable service and quality were not up to the standard of previous cruises. In the main dining room some of the staff had very poor English e.g. my husband requested a larger portion of only one type of cheese but got the standard selection and little knowledge of restaurant procedure such as pouring wine. Similarly our Room Steward insisted that the plug was supposed to stick so that you couldn't open it without getting a nail file under it! Little niggles but all detract from the overall impression.
This went very well. We requested a late debark and were given 10.00 to 10.15 which suited us fine. Long lines at Customs but no problems. Less
Don't know why this gets such a bad press! For us as 60+ who don't scuba or snorkel we were a bit limited for excursion and having already seen the excellent Mayan ruins at Tulum did not particularly fancy Altun Ha. So we just wandered round the port area and left the "compound" to wander to the flea market (same stuff as inside Tourist Village plus local food) and down to the lighthouse. Locals offered tours, foot massage etc but were polite and friendly and nowhere near as menacing as Jamaica, in fact some went to great lengths to explain where to go as we wondered aimlessly in search of local shops suggesting the Radisson hotel! They seem to be doing up this area and creating a sort of sea front area.
Inside the village had drinks at the Wet Lizard, used the wi-fi (unfortunately very slow) and chatted with the waitress whose mother lived in Wales. We also went to a chemist where we found British products. All in all very pleasant people and some of the cheapest souvenirs. I would still prefer a stop in Jamaica but Belize wasn't bad and would have been better if we were more into diving etc.
Having done the Tulum excursion previously we decided to visit Chankanab on our own. Also on our previous cruise we were in port from 8.00 to 10.00pm giving more time for mainland excursions.
We left the ship at 10.00 and took a taxi and paid for standard entrance. They asked if we were from the Liberty but quickly added "just for our records". We paid $21 for general entrance and were given times for the sea lion show and dolphin visit which consisted of walking round the dolphin area, seeing several different dolphins and watching them being fed. We were also able to see others taking part in the swim and could take photos from the shore - no close up photos. We could take photos at the sealion show but a lot of time was taken up with professional photos at the end. There were ample seats and hammocks at the beach area and only one ship was in port that day. Returned with taxi and wandered round Puerto Maya and had meal and drinks at Three Amigos.
Having been here before wanted an alternative to Seven Mile Beach and thought it would be easy to pick up something in Georgetown. Unfortunately did not book Carnival excursion. Due to weather conditions we docked at Spot Bay and were further delayed by an incident with some refugees which unfortunately delayed debarkation by 2 hours+. If we had been on a Carnival excursion we would have been off the ship earlier and excursions would have been waiting. As it was we had only 3 hours on land and there is literally nothing at Spot Bay, not even a bar. Had to get taxis to Georgetown at a cost of $10. It would have been a nice gesture if Carnival had paid for this or provided a bus.
My favourite of the cruise despite it raining for most of the day. We took the Tabayana beach break excursion which was excellent. A short trip through interesting scenery to a beautiful beach with friendly helpful security men, local souvenirs for sale but kept to an area of the beach - a few passing hawkers but no hard sell. The beach bar was great and a duo created a great atmosphere and helped by generous rum punches and drinks at reasonable prices got everyone in the party mood. Free lemonade and water. Could have spent longer here and then returned to look around the shops at Mahogany Bay. High quality souvenirs in the shops and a pretty village. Yes I know it is the plastic Caribbean but made a good contrast to Belize.